Bell wins O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At Daytona Cup race

Joey Logano was leading on the last lap a week ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona but then crashed out with his teammate in Turn 3.

This Sunday Logano led with one lap to go, but Christopher Bell drove past the #22 Pennzoil Penske Ford with one lap to go and pulled away to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the Daytona Road Course by 2.119s in his #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

It was Bell’s first-ever NASCAR Cup win in his 38th Cup start

Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, race during the NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin was 3rd in the #11 FedEx Toyota.

Kurt Busch who came home 4th in his #1 Ganassi Chevy.

Logano’s Penske teammate Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-5 in his #22 Ford.

Kevin Harvick came in sixth, and AJ Allmendinger was seventh. Last week’s Daytona 500 winner, Michael McDowell, placed eighth. Ryan Preece and Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10.

Chase Elliott won Stage 1 on Lap 16, leading all but one lap from the pole position. Bell is credited with a lap led in the race’s first portion.

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona  (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Hamlin took Stage 2 on Lap 34. He led the last four circuits of the stage, taking the lead from Allmendinger.

Elliott’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet actually dominated the day overall, pacing the field for a race-high 44 laps. But with 12 laps to go, Elliott drove off track. He made a major save, but it dropped him back to 14th. A caution came out moments later, as Tyler Reddick’s No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet ran into an off-track sign and set on fire in the grass.

Elliott worked his way back up into the top five, but with six laps to go, he tried to pull a crossover on Keselowski, and instead, Hamlin bumped him from behind and sent Elliott spinning. Elliott ultimately finished 21st, ending his road-course win streak at four.

Start of the NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Top-2 Finisher Quotes

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How does this feel?
“I don’t know, this is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. I’m just so incredibly thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing with all of our partners – Rheem, DeWalt, Pristine Auction, Toyota, TRD. Thank you to Jack Irving and Tyler Gibbs. You guys believed in me since day one. It feels like I’ve prepared my whole life for this moment to race in the Cup Series. Last year was a huge learning curve for me, and I’m very grateful that I got the opportunity to run in Cup. It definitely prepared me to move for Joe Gibbs Racing.”

After you got past Kurt Busch with five to go, did you think you had a shot at catching Joey Logano?

“No, I really didn’t. Whenever we pitted and then we came out, I liked where we lined up, but then the yellows kept coming and I thought the yellows were hurting me because I felt like I needed laps to get back up through there. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to get there, but Adam (Stevens, crew chief) up on the pit box kept telling me I was going to get there. I didn’t believe it, but he really struggled coming out of (turn) six one time and allowed me to close the gap. I just wish my wife was here to celebrate with me.”

Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in after winning the NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Can you describe your emotions after getting your first career Cup Series win?

“I don’t know, it’s unbelievable. Watching last night and seeing Ty (Gibbs) win was such a special moment. I was so proud of Ty. Obviously Joe Gibbs Racing does a great job giving everybody great equipment. I knew that going into this year that I was going to have to perform. Just really, really proud to be here. Really proud for all of our partners at Rheem, DeWalt, Pristine Auctions – it’s a dream come true.”

With less than five laps to go, you had to make up more than three seconds. Did you think you could catch Joey Logano?

Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“I just kept doing what I was doing all day long. Whenever we took the green flag, I felt like I was really patient. Kyle (Busch) tried to go three-wide around me at the start. I knew that I was okay. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) kept asking what I needed in the car and I didn’t really need anything. Just took my time to get going, get up to speed and really proud to be here.”

How hard have you worked to get better on the road courses?

“It’s just seat time and experience and doing it. They’re a lot of fun. They’re fun to run. Last year, I guess the two years in Xfinity, we got a bunch of road courses run so that probably helped me out a lot. This year we got nine of them I think so better get good at it.”

What does it mean to be a winner at Daytona?

“The superspeedway has been horrible for me, but this road course, we should make this an every year event.”

Joey Logano

“I was trying to keep him (Bell) behind me.  We gambled by staying out and I’d say it paid off overall, but you just hate being so close.  He started catching me a second a lap and it wasn’t like I blew any corners or anything.  We just got beat, plain and simple.  We’ve got to get our long run speed faster.  We made some gains and have gotten better with our Shell-Pennzoil Mustang.  We’ve just got to be able to find a way to keep our rear tires on these things on the road courses.  We’ve identified the issue, now we can go to work.”

Race Results

1 20 Christopher Bell Toyota 0.000s 70
2 22 Joey Logano Ford 2.119s 70
3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 5.899s 70
4 1 Kurt Busch Chevy 7.849s 70
5 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 8.278s 70
6 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 8.482s 70
7 16 * AJ Allmendinger(i) Chevy 8.913s 70
8 34 Michael McDowell Ford 9.306s 70
9 37 * Ryan Preece Chevy 13.276s 70
10 48 Alex Bowman Chevy 14.326s 70
11 17 Chris Buescher Ford 16.135s 70
12 19 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 16.480s 70
13 41 Cole Custer Ford 16.856s 70
14 43 Erik Jones Chevy 17.586s 70
15 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 20.610s 70
16 99 Daniel Suarez Chevy 21.003s 70
17 10 Aric Almirola Ford 22.818s 70
18 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevy 26.861s 70
19 96 * Ty Dillon(i) Toyota 28.026s 70
20 6 Ryan Newman Ford 29.619s 70
21 9 Chase Elliott Chevy 29.778s 70
22 38 Anthony Alfredo # Ford 30.625s 70
23 15 James Davison Chevy 32.946s 70
24 77 Justin Haley(i) Chevy 37.697s 70
25 51 Cody Ware(i) Chevy 46.499s 70
26 23 Bubba Wallace Toyota 51.104s 70
27 53 Garrett Smithley(i) Chevy 51.527s 70
28 78 Scott Heckert Ford 60.292s 70
29 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Toyota 70.276s 70
30 5 Kyle Larson Chevy 99.687s 70
31 7 Corey LaJoie Chevy 102.072s 69
32 14 Chase Briscoe # Ford 109.421s 69
33 24 William Byron Chevy -1 Lap 69
34 3 Austin Dillon Chevy -1 69
35 52 Josh Bilicki Ford -2 68
36 18 Kyle Busch Toyota -2 68
37 21 Matt DiBenedetto Ford -5 65
38 8 Tyler Reddick Chevy -12 58
39 42 Ross Chastain Chevy -44 26
40 00 Quin Houff Chevy -67 Laps 3


Average Speed of Race Winner:  84.452 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 59 Mins, 32 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.119 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 12 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Elliott 1-12;C. Bell 13;C. Elliott 14-28;*. Allmendinger(i) 29-30;D. Hamlin 31-35;D. Suarez 36-37;K. Busch 38;C. Bell 39-40;C. Elliott 41-57;J. Logano 58-61;K. Busch 62;J. Logano 63-68;C. Bell 69-70.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chase Elliott 3 times for 44 laps; Joey Logano 2 times for 10 laps; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 5 laps; Christopher Bell 3 times for 5 laps; Kurt Busch 2 times for 2 laps; * AJ Allmendinger(i) 1 time for 2 laps; Daniel Suarez 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 9,22,11,2,1,5,19,3,4,17

Stage #2 Top Ten: 11,1,22,20,19,9,24,41,16,18